Gemma Stone took redundancy following the merger of Granada and ITV in her stride. Having ten years of experience in event management at the company, Gemma decided that she should make her own mark on the industry by setting up Rock and Ruby.
Since launching the business in early 2004, Gemma has seen the business go from strength to strength, organising ceremonies for the South Bank Awards, the What the Papers Say Awards and even the Startups Awards.
“I’ve been working in the events industry since I left college and it has been the only career path for me,” she explains. “I love the creativity of events, the build up of work as the date draws closer and the climax of seeing your hard work come together for the enjoyment and benefit of others.
“Owning my own company has given me the opportunity to do what I do best and that is what motivates and inspires me.”
Gemma has an impressive list of clients, ranging from Tesco to the London Film Festival. Rock and Ruby’s success, however, is based on the sole funding of Gemma and her partner Steve, rather than extensive bank loans.
“The business has been solely funded by myself and my partner Steve, through savings and redundancy,” she says. “We were keen not to have the added pressure of loans to pay back – ensuring we pay the bills is quite enough stress for us.
“The service we provide has been in place from the first rumblings of the company – professional, personal, creative and bespoke. We promise big but deliver bigger.
“It’s not our mission to be the biggest or have the highest turnover, we want to create bespoke, creative events that impress and to develop long term relationships with clients.”
Gemma admits that going it alone was daunting at first, with simple tasks such as registering the company seeming like a complicated process. But, after initial concerns, she reveals that the greatest challenge in the early days was deciding on a name for the new business.
“After four months of deliberation, research, arguments and meetings we decided the first name we ever wrote down was the one,” she says. “Of course there are challenges all the time but that’s what makes running your own company so satisfying.”
Although she enjoys what she does, Gemma insists it’s important to achieve an ideal work/life balance between her clients and her two children. The long hours aren’t the only difficulties that Gemma has had to overcome.
“I am probably part of the smallest statistic of entrepreneurs - under 30, female, mother of two, without a degree,” she says. “But I work hard, enjoy what I do and am motivated to be a loving and giving mother and a successful businesswoman. If there are barriers in my path then I say ‘bring it on!’”
For more information on Rock and Ruby, go to www.rockandruby.com